Elevate the elegance of your outdoor staircase with the timeless beauty of stone!

Whether you desire sturdy natural stone steps or opt for steps constructed from retaining wall blocks adorned with a natural stone step cap, we provide a versatile range of options. We can even incorporate hardscape lights beneath the step caps to enhance both aesthetics and safety.

When it comes to designing your front entrance or backyard patio, we prioritize not only aesthetics but also functionality. Our steps are meticulously crafted with a comfortable rise and generous tread to ensure that each step feels secure and comfortable, preventing any awkward sensations of your heel slipping off the edge.

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Benefits of Solid Steps

Solid steps are particularly appealing due to their seamless, single-unit design, offering a clean and cohesive look. Unlike steps built using retaining wall blocks, solid steps feature no additional pieces aside from the risers on the sides. This results in a quicker installation process, albeit at a higher material cost, and the drawback of not being able to incorporate hardscape lights.

Our preference leans towards natural stone for solid steps, primarily due to the inherent uniqueness of each piece. However, it’s worth noting that natural stone requires sealing if you intend to use salt for ice and snow removal during winters. In contrast, concrete alternatives typically come with warranties that protect against salt usage. Nevertheless, concrete products often exhibit signs of wear and tear in high-traffic areas, gradually exposing the aggregate within the concrete mix.

Conversely, natural stone maintains its integrity, remaining true to its natural composition regardless of traffic or minor chipping. For these reasons, we favor natural stone for our solid step installations, prioritizing both aesthetics and durability.

Cross-Section of a Step Installation

Compacting the subsoil ensures we are building on top of a firm foundation that will not settle.

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Geotextile separates the subsoil from the base material so that there is no contamination between the two and to provide stabilization especially when paired with geogrid.

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We install and compact 6″ to 8″ of 3/4″ angular crushed clean stone for our base material. This stone has no fines in it allowing water to move freely through the system without being held thus preventing freeze-thaw cycles.

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On top of the base material is a bedding layer that does not exceed 1.5″ to level the base material and allow the pavers to be set into the base material.

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After the excavation, we compact the subsoil so that we are building our base on a foundation that is not going to settle.

Geotextile is laid to separate the subsoil from the base material to ensure no contamination and reinforce the base material. Geogrid is also used to help stabilize our base material.

The base material is installed and compacted. The depth of the base material is 6″ to 8″.

The bedding layer is screeded at no greater than 1.5″. This allows us to lay our wall block or steps on a finer grade material than the base material.

Wall blocks are laid level on the bedding layer allowing us to build the remainder of the step up. When installing solid block steps, we will install a slab platform on top of the bedding layer to lay the solid block steps on top of.

How We Install a Solid Block Steps

How We Install a Block Steps

Step #1: Preparation

We begin with a site visit to plan the steps including how many steps will be required, how wide the steps will be, and what the tread depth on each of the steps will be. This allows us to order the correct amount of product and plan the build accordingly.

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Step #2: Excavation

The depth of our excavation is determined by the depth of the base (6″ to 8″), plus the 1″ bedding layer, plus the height of the buried course if applicable. This material is excavated and disposed of.

Step #3: Base Preparation

The first step in preparing the base involves compacting the subsoil, laying down geotextile fabric, and layering it with appropriate aggregate materials tailored to the chosen installation method. Following this, a one-inch screed layer is added to create a level surface, preparing it for the placement of the initial course of wall blocks or the slab platform where the steps will be installed.

Step #4: First Course or Slab Platform

Ensuring the wall blocks are level on the screed layer is a crucial step to maintain uniform wall alignment across each course. We use a mallet and torpedo level to achieve precision, and for added confidence, we double-check with an 8-foot level across longer sections to achieve absolute perfection. In cases where solid steps are being installed, we create a slab platform to serve as the foundation for the steps.

Step #5: Building Up the Steps

If we are building steps out of wall block, we will plan our cuts and corners and continue to build up that wall until our desired height and adhere our natural stone caps. If applicable, we will also install hardscape lighting under the caps for added aesthetic appeal and safety.

If we are building solid steps, we build up the steps using spacer units along the sides and placing the steps on top of these to get to our desired height for the steps.

Step #6: Finalize

The project is finalized and you are ready to enjoy your brand new steps for years to come!

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